As MOST of you know, I used to own a “Pet Shoppe.”

Well actually it was just a Tropical Fish Store

In Nacogdoches, Texas.

Tropical Fish is all we sold. (and a few-odd Crustaceans–just for fun)

This Monty Python bit cracks me up.

Customer walks into my store.

“My guppy died.”

 (I had a three-day guarantee on any fish I sold–it was a gimmick, but I honored it.)

“Madame did you put the chlorine removal drops into your ‘guppy-tank?”

“The whaaa? ” she said.

*Heavy sigh* from me

“Ok. I will give you a new guppy and some free chlorine removal drops. Use them this time.”

I think she then told me to go fuck myself and said something about going to Ben Franklin’s up the street.

Benny Franklin sold guppies back in them days.

(And apparently their guppies were made of sterner stuff. )

And hopefully Benny Frank would throw in some Chlorine Removal Drops—but this Broad was probably too stupid to understand how to use them—the process and procedure was above her capacity of understanding.

“Bon voyage,” I said to her back as she departed my life (Hopefully Forever.)

Added Value:

“All the Reasons Why”

Not really related, but I like it.

So I just drop it in.

Not certain why.

If you contort your mind a little, it works.

Related: Sometimes There Just Aren’t Enuff Crud Eaters (A Rewite)

Rhonda: Chapter Le Premier

This ain’t Rhonda, but a pretty (really pretty) reasonable facsimile.

(Just like Rhonda)

Once Janet and I had escaped (In the middle of the night) from Nacogdoches, after having sold out and sold our “Aquarium World” Crud-Eater Tropical Fish Emporium to a young couple for not nearly what it was worth, we headed to Plano.

(Not sure why Plano)

Got there. Early in the A.M.
Just in time to find an apartment.

Found one, but we were near to broke.

West Plano—where all the yuppies and rich folk lived.

We managed to move in though.


(We were used to that)

After about a month, we got kicked out.

Because we were deemed to be “White Trash.”

Fuck ‘em.

We found a cheaper apartment in East Plano that was FURNISHED.

Janet announced to me one day that she wanted to be a ‘housewife’ for one year.

Considering what I had put her through and what a ‘trooper’ she had always been, I agreed.

So I got a job which paid shit, but just enough to make her dream come true.

We would manage.

The job was a ‘factory’ job for a Mom and Pop company:


They made gauges. Pressure gauges. Mostly for fire trucks.

I was hired as a ‘Calibration Technician.’

For the gauges.

(Yeah, with all of my fucking ‘math skills.’)

But I never missed work and so they kept upping my pay.

So it was easy for me to keep my promise to my wife.

Then entered Rhonda Jo:

Throwing a spanner in the works of my marriage.

To be continued…


Sometimes There Just Aren’t Enuff Crud Eaters (A Rewite)

After having accumulated a little money during my three years’ working in the Sinai Desert (Sinai Field Mission), I decided to come home to Texas. My wife (the first one) and I settled in Nacogdoches resolved to open a tropical fish store. A dream I’d had since I was a kid. I had never been to Nacogdoches, but according to U.S. News & World Report, it was one of “The Ten Best Places to Live in the United States” and the city fathers had even erected a billboard on the main road into town proclaiming this quote from the magazine, just in case some folks missed reading that issue.

Nacogdoches, for any non-Texans who may be reading this, is Ass-Deep in the heart of the Deep East Texas Piney Woods—gorgeous country, simply breathtaking. ‘Paradise On Texas’.

We leased a small building on South Street, which was the southern part of the main drag through town, just off the square. Wanting everything to be perfect, I spent the entire summer of 1980 fitting out the inside of my shop. I built all the fixtures, assembled all the equipment, and even built the office desk my wife would be using to cook the books. I built floor-to-ceiling rustic cabinets to display the sixty aquariums which would hold our retail stock. All that could be seen were the fronts of the tanks; no filters, hoses, wires or anything to wreck the ambiance.

The overhead lights were dimmed, keeping the atmosphere what one would expect in a fine Public Aquarium, most of the light coming only from the aquariums themselves.

At the very back of the store, I built a nine-foot by three-foot display tank, roughly 600 gallons—it was built into the wall, again so as not to ruin the effect. This was my dream aquarium, showcasing all the skills I had honed over a lifetime of fish-keeping. It was decorated with huge driftwood, rocky multi-leveled terraces, and no less than two dozen different varieties of live plants.

The effect was that of looking into a cross section of the Amazon River. Beautiful Blue Discus, shoals of Cardinal Tetras, various South American catfish, and many other exotic South American species were all stocked in this display. It was the perfect closed ecosystem.


Not MY Original Display Tank
Just A Reasonable Facsimile

The retail stock tanks were also painstakingly decorated to provide examples of how fish should be kept in a home aquarium. No burping clams, no rotating ship’s wheels, no deep sea divers with bubbles coming out of their butt, no ‘Creatures from the Black Lagoon’, no ‘No Fishin’ signs—none of this dime-store shit in MY Shoppe. Oh Hell No. Every display reflected my fundamental conviction that tropical fish deserved to be represented in natural surroundings. Period.

Our store was beautiful. I set up five large display tanks in the entrance area, so that the first thing our customers would see were aquariums as they should be: All Natural: Live plants, Real Driftwood, wonderfully terraced natural gravel substrate, and of course exotic tropical fish. No goldfish, no guppies, no ‘trash fish’—for those they could go to Wal*Mart or Ben Franklin’s.

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